A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Flirtation & Folly: A Season in London (Book 1), by Elizabeth Rasche

Flirtation & Folly by Elizabeth Rasche 2020The Regency romance genre is one of my favorites and I believe that we have Jane Austen to thank for it. Many argue that she did not write romances. Maybe so. She did, however, inspire authors like Georgette Heyer, the undisputed Queen of Regency romance to closely study her success with characterization, comedy, and romantic tension in her novels, advancing the genre to create her new stories.

Today I am happy to introduce you to Elizabeth Rasche, a new author in this genre. Her first historical romance Flirtation & Folly will release on November 9, 2020.

Those familiar with the Regency romance tropes will be in comfortable territory. In Flirtation & Folly, we see a young Miss venturing to London with her aunt who will introduce her to Society during the Season. We shall see what challenges and obstacles that the author throws in her heroine’s path before she earns her HEA.

Please welcome Elizabeth Rasche who has kindly shared an exclusive excerpt of Flirtation & Folly with us today.

Marianne Mowbrey is a responsible country rector’s daughter who longs for the novelty and excitement she reads about in novels. When her crusty Aunt Harriet agrees to give her a Season in London, Marianne vows to dazzle the world, win a husband, and never go home again. But the Londoners who determine social success are inclined to pass over plain Marianne in favor of her beautiful, reckless younger sister.

In a world of ambition, fashion, flattery, and deceit, how can Marianne stay true to her real self—when she is not even sure what that real self is?

As if the wayward Fates had declared themselves as much in favour of Marianne’s situation at table as they had been against it before, she found herself seated between two young men at Aunt Cartwright’s dinner. As one of those men was Captain Pulteney, Marianne’s bliss knew no bounds. The other young man was Frederick Lowes, an anaemic-looking gentleman with nut-brown hair stiff with pomade, a trim, clocked waistcoat, and a careless manner. Although the dinner table had been forced to expand for three guests more than the previous visit there seemed to be just as many eatables spread out along the table, as well as the occasional candelabra or well-stocked épergne. There were even small folded bits of coloured paper fashioned into flowers, fans, and jewel shapes delicately arranged among the dishes.

“Shall I congratulate you on your position at table, Miss Mowbrey? Or would that be self-congratulation?” Captain Pulteney said. The gold trim of his regimentals caught the light in a way that made Marianne’s heart giddy. As handsome as he was when she first saw him, he looked even better in regimentals.

“I am always pleased to dine at my aunt’s,” Marianne said, proud of herself for avoiding too particular a reply. As the captain invoked the usual topics of conversation, she felt delightfully at ease, and much more the gracious lady of elegance she wanted to be. Captain Pulteney’s admiration made her feel beautiful and charming.

Glancing down the table, she saw Mr Hearn not far from them, chewing on roast chicken with a solemn air, and Miss Emily further on. As loud as Miss Emily could be with her family, she was decorum itself at dinner in society. Her voice never rose above a murmur, and Marianne could make out nothing of what she said to Mr Hearn. Every once in a while, Miss Emily threw a hard look in Marianne’s direction, but Marianne thought it likely simple envy, not anything personal. Miss Emily seemed eager to please the captain when she could, and Frederick Lowes seemed no small catch himself.

At least, he was no small catch from a worldly perspective. From a more personal view, Marianne could not say that she liked him. Mr Lowes’s demeanour had a studied indifference that she suspected was anything but genuine. His slight body looked too weak to impress anyone, but he held himself with confidence. In her judgment, his confidence was more the false bravado of a child, rather than the genuine self-assurance of an adult. Mr Lowes’s expression seemed to show little interest in others, but he scrupulously attended to his table manners in a way that suggested he was anxious to avoid reproach. Stranger still, Mr Lowes had the oddest way of throwing remarks across the table in a pointed way, as if trying to communicate something to Mr Hearn without addressing him directly.

“I hear you are from the country, Miss Mowbrey,” Mr Lowes said. He had accompanied his claim that she was from the country with a sneer, and then pasted a smile on his face as he spoke her name.

“Yes, my father is a rector—ˮ

“Oh, a clergyman. I cannot say I envy him for that. But a country estate—ˮ He leaned over his plate, and Marianne could not help but think he was trying to attract Mr Hearn’s attention with his raised voice. “I adore country estates. The prettiest of them are in Ireland, I would say. Have you ever been to Ireland?”

“I regret I have not.” Marianne tried to focus on Mr Lowes, but she, too, found herself staring at Mr Hearn, who listened to the conversation with a grimace. She did not understand what sort of allusion Mr Lowes was trying to make. Was he twitting his friend for being half-Irish? She could not see why Mr Hearn would choose a friend prejudiced against the Irish, but whatever the allusion, clearly Mr Hearn was angry. He was digging into his chicken with a ferocity that ill became a fashionable dinner party.

Mr Lowes continued, seemingly unaware of Mr Hearn. “I have several places in Ireland. I pick them up here and there, from people without the sense to hang onto them. There is always a risk associated with them, of course, but I never mind that. Are you afraid of risk, Miss Mowbrey?”

“I suppose I am, a little.” She gave him a puzzled look, and then looked across the table at Mr Hearn, only to see a scowl on his face.

“Now, I adore risk. Life is nothing but a gamble.” Mr Lowes roared with laughter at this, and Marianne began to wonder if he had had too much to drink. There had not been much wine served, but perhaps the gentleman was delicate. It was with relief she realised Captain Pulteney was trying to attract her attention again, and she turned to her other side.

Chapter 8, page 63

After acquiring a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Arkansas, Elizabeth Rasche taught philosophy in the U.S. and co-taught English in Japan. Now she and her husband live in northwest Arkansas, the ‘garden of America.’ (At least, she has only ever heard Arkansas called so.) She dreams of visiting Surrey (if only to look for Mrs. Elton’s Maple Grove), Bath, and of course, London. When she has a Jane Austen novel in one hand, a cup of tea in the other, and a cat on her lap, her day is pretty much perfect.

Elizabeth Rasche is the author of The Birthday Parties of Dragons and her poetry has appeared in Scifaikuest. Flirtation & Folly is her first historical fiction novel.

Flirtation and Folly Book Blast Banner

Austenprose is delighted to be participating

in the book blast of Flirtation & Folly.

Learn more about the blast and visit all the stops.

Join the virtual online book blast of FLIRTATION & FOLLY, by Elizabeth Rasche, a new Regency romance, September 23, through September 30, 2020, organized by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

Flirtation & Folly: A Season in London (Book1), by Elizabeth Rasche
Quills and Quartos Publishing (November 9, 2020)
Paperback & eBook (326) pages
ISBN: 978-1951033583

AMAZON | GOODREADS

Cover image, book description, excerpt, and author bio compliments of Quills and Quartos Publishing © 2020; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2020, Austenprose.com

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Accusing Mr. Darcy: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Kelly Miller

Accusing Mr Darcy by Kelly Miller 2020We are happy to welcome back Austenesque author Kelly Miller today in celebration of her new novel, Accusing Mr. Darcy. This storyline is a variation of the classic Pride and Prejudice plot and places protagonists Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy is an alternative universe—combining a love story and a murder mystery in the Peak District of northern England.

For those who are familiar with Miller’s previous two novels, Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match (2020) and Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley (2019), you will know of the author’s creative abilities. Great ready for another shake-up.

You will not find familiar characters such as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Lady Catherine, the younger Bennet sisters, or landmarks such as Longbourn and Rosing Park. Instead, you will be introduced to an entirely new set of characters and residences. Accusing Mr. Darcy propels us into a country house murder mystery. Will it have the traditional earmarks of a country house mystery such as red herrings and twists in the plot? I’m not telling.

The author has generously shared an exclusive excerpt with our readers to give us a glimpse into the setting and characters. Enjoy!

Could Fitzwilliam Darcy harbour a shocking, sinister secret?

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet count themselves among the many guests of the Kendall family, whose estate lies amidst the picturesque hills, gorges, and rocky slopes of the Peak District in Derbyshire. Elizabeth’s cousin Rose Kendall believes her dashing brother-in-law, Captain James Kendall, is Elizabeth’s ideal match. Rose’s husband, Nicholas, hopes his good friend Darcy—a rich, proud, and taciturn gentleman with a spotless reputation—will fancy one of the other eligible lady guests.

News of a brutal killing at a neighbouring estate sends a wave of shock through the genial group of friends and family. When one of the Kendalls’ guests is attacked, all of the gentlemen become suspects, but the former Bow Street runner tasked with investigating the crime finds the evidence against Mr. Darcy particularly compelling.

In this romantic mystery, the beloved couple from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice cross paths with a ruthless killer. When faced with dire warnings against Mr. Darcy, will Elizabeth heed them or follow the dictates of her heart?

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A Preview of Tempt Me: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Julie Cooper

Tempt Me by Julie Cooper 2020Fall is here and Halloween is just around the corner as the next holiday to celebrate. To get in the mood I always like to re-read Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen’s Gothic parody, and a new Austen-inspired Gothic fiction. This year it will be Tempt Me, by Julie Cooper. It is a Pride and Prejudice variation with a paranormal twist. Get ready to meet vampire Darcy, again.

The vampire concept is not new to the Janeite fan fiction world. Austenesque authors have been putting this paranormal slant on Mr. Darcy (for good reason) since Amanda Grange’s, Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, was released in 2009. There have been others along this theme too: Pulse and Prejudice: The Confession of Mr. Darcy, Vampire, by Colette L. Saucier, Vampire Darcy’s Desire: A Pride and Prejudice Adaptation, by Regina Jeffers, and recently, Darcy’s Clan, by Lari Ann O’Dell. I see you rolling your eyes. Stop that. Darcy as a vampire is so sexy—a moody hot mess of uncontrollable desire.

I have not read this author before, but I was won over by the beautiful cover (I am so shallow. I do judge a book by its cover!) and the creative storyline. Austenprose is the last stop on the Tempt Me blog tour so let’s check it out. Here is the description from the publisher and an exclusive excerpt selected by the author. Enjoy!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single vampyre must be in want of a wife. Someone biddable, her memories easily expunged to allow for strange, inexplicable deeds and baffling circumstances. A tractable creature, of average intelligence, willing to attend to the business of producing heirs and keep out of all else. A girl easily moulded, incurious, indifferent, and demanding nothing beyond access to his fortune.

Fitzwilliam Darcy knows exactly who he needs. He can fix on the hour, the spot, the look, and the words which laid the foundation for an obsession he rejected. But ten years later, at an assembly in an obscure village in Hertfordshire, he finds himself in the middle once more.

His needs are unalterable. But can he resist the one woman he truly wants?

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A Preview & Giveaway of Clueless: A Totally Classic Picture Book, Adapted by G. M. Berrow, and illustrated by Heather Burns

Clueless: A Totally Classic Picture Book 2020Its been twenty-five years since Clueless premiered in 1995 and we are still worshiping the creative genius of writer/director Amy Heckerling’s film adaptation of Jane Austen 1815 classic novel, Emma.

This witty coming-of-age teen comedy featured a string of now-famous young actors such as Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Paul Rudd, and Brittany Murphy, eye-popping fashion, and hip 1990’s slang—a combination of Valley-speak and Beverly Hills glitterati. The movie was a big hit with critics and the public and is now considered a cult classic.

If you have young ones in your life or are young at heart, you will be seriously interested in Clueless: A Totally Classic Picture Book. Inspired by Amy Heckerling’s iconic film, this charming children’s picture book is the perfect introduction to the characters, fashion, and vocabulary and has been adapted with the theme of making friends for a younger audience by G.M. Berrow with beautiful illustrations by Heather Burns.

Austenprose is thrilled to preview this adorable new children’s book and offer an exclusive giveaway along with the mini-book, Clueless: Lessons on Love, Fashion, and Friendship, by Lauren Mancuso, created by Amy Heckerling. Check out the details at the bottom of this post to enter. Good luck to all!

Cher and Dionne are the coolest kids at Bronson Alcott Elementary School in Beverly Hills. When a new — very unique, grunge-chic, and possibly clueless — girl named Tai comes along, Cher and Dionne take her under their wings. They tell her how to dress and what hobbies to take up to be a part of their friend group. But Tai really likes skateboarding, baggy clothes, and wants to hang out more with the group of skateboarders. Cher and Dionne try a variety of ways to change Tai, alongside a cast of characters including Murray, Amber, Travis, Summer, Elton, and Miss Geist. But in the end, they realize that people are different and that’s what makes them so cool!

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A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Schemes of Felicity: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Suzan Lauder

Schemes of Felicity by Suzan Lauder 2020Great news in Austenland, readers. While the pandemic has taken its toll and continues to flourish, we can be grateful that so many housebound writers are working away creating stories for us!

I am happy to share that the fine folks at Meryton Press will be having several novels and novellas rolling out over the next few months and into next year. Huzzah! They are all inspired by the same theme of “Skirmish & Scandal,” and the covers will be designed as a series.

First up is a novella by bestselling Austenesque author Suzan Lauder, entitled, Schemes of Felicity. This Pride and Prejudice inspired short fiction begins at the classic jumping-off point for many variations—the failed first proposal of Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford parsonage. The fallout of the frosty rebuff by Elizabeth is tempered by her later contemplation of his “Be not alarmed, madame…” letter, softening her anger. When the couple is reunited in London, anything might be possible.

We are happy to share an exclusive excerpt from the author for our readers. Enjoy!

A month to find a mate!

Mr. Darcy desires marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, but he ruins any such prospect during his proposal at Hunsford. The resulting general sense of malaise interferes with his usually amicable yet stately demeanour, and his Fitzwilliam relatives resolve that Darcy is lonely—he must be in want of a wife. His cousins convince him to leap into the London Season for one month and partner every lady they select for his felicity.

At Longbourn, chaos erupts as Mr. Bennet undergoes a transformation, and Jane and Elizabeth receive the gift of a month in town to enjoy the Season. Meanwhile, Elizabeth pores over Mr. Darcy’s Hunsford letter and wonders about him, warmed by his words.

It’s only a matter of time before the two meet again in this Pride and Prejudice novella. But will their encounter be a repeat of the earlier disaster, or will they overcome their tenuous history? And can Elizabeth’s credentials pass the stringent criteria of the scheming Fitzwilliam cousins who direct Darcy towards the single daughters of every peer of the realm?

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Q&A and Blog Tour with Rachel McMillan, Historical Fiction Author of The London Restoration

The London Restoration by Rachel McMillian 2020Hello gentle readers. Summer is in full swing here at Woodston Cottage. My hydrangeas, anemones, and roses are blooming. We had a heatwave over the weekend that sent this hot weather wimp inside and under a fan!

Today I am so happy to welcome bestselling author Rachel McMillian to Austenprose for an exclusive interview in celebration of her latest historical fiction novel, The London Restoration, which just released this week.

Rachel is a multitalented writer who is happiest when she is lost in history researching her latest novel. She has written two historical mystery series: the Herringford and Watts mysteries set in 1910 in Toronto, Canada, and A Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries set in 1937, Boston, USA. Recently, she has branched out into nonfiction too with Dream, Plan, and Go: A Travel Guide to Inspire Your Independent Adventure (2020), and her forthcoming A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide: *Must-See, Made-for-TV Movie Viewing Lists *Inspired New Traditions *Festive Watch Party Ideas (October 6, 2020), which I am really excited to read.

Today we are thrilled to be participating in the blog tour of The London Restoration and offer an exclusive interview with Rachel for Austenprose readers. Enjoy!

London, Fall 1945. Architectural historian Diana Somerville’s experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and her knowledge of London’s churches intersect in MI6’s pursuit of a Russian agent named Eternity. Diana wants nothing more than to begin again with her husband Brent after their separation during the war, but her signing of the Official Secrets Act keeps him at a distance.

Brent Somerville, professor of theology at King’s College, hopes aiding his wife with her church consultations will help him better understand why she disappeared when he needed her most. But he must find a way to reconcile his traumatic experiences as a stretcher bearer on the European front with her obvious lies about her wartime activities and whereabouts.

Featuring a timeless love story bolstered by flashbacks and the excavation of a priceless Roman artifact, The London Restoration is a richly atmospheric look at post-war London as two people changed by war rebuild amidst the city’s reconstruction

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A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Everything a Lady is Not: Bow Street Beaus (Book 1), by Sawyer North

Everything A Lady Is Not, by Swyer North, 2020Hello gentle readers! I am happy to welcome author Sawyer North to Austenprose today in celebration of his latest historical romance novel, Everything a Lady is Not. Set in Regency-era England it is the first book in the Bow Street Beaus series and involves and strong, independent heroine and an equally endowed hero who are thrown together under unusual circumstances and at odds with each other.

This is the second historical romance from Sawyer North after Fair Weather Enemies released this past February. He appears to enjoy creating characters who love to spar with each other. Please enjoy the exclusive excerpt chosen for us by the author. The cover is to die for.

Lucy Locket, the long-lost granddaughter of a duchess, has never been a part of Society. One day, she was living a secluded life as the prisoner of a criminal, and the next day she was an heiress in a world she did not even remotely understand. She does not embody the typical qualities of a well-born lady…at all. She can’t curtsy, she doesn’t hide her emotions, she’s too clever by far. But in three months, she must marry a suitor with a royally-bestowed title, or she forfeits a fortune—leaving her and the duchess in dire straits.

All Henry Beaumont wants is to prove himself to Society and step outside of his half-brother’s shadow. So, when the duchess asks him for a personal favor involving her newly found granddaughter—with a hefty thank-you reward at the end—he leaps at the opportunity.

It seems as if Lucy is trading one prison for another. Henry has now become a permanent fixture as her charming yet iron-fisted taskmaster and tutor in the ways of High Society. Like oil and water, Lucy and Henry spar in an epic battle of wills—and even rapiers. But Lucy’s past and her surprising, undeniable feelings for Henry may doom their undertaking if he declares his love for her…because without a title, he can never be hers.

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